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Fash ion

International Herald Tribune

Tu e s d ay , S e p te m b e r 18 , 2 0 07

III

Flashy and tailor-made: Rag trade blogs

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“blog wagon”, early adopters are Donna Karan, Eley Kishimoto, Jun Takahashi of Undercover,Sue Stemp and the en- vironmentally conscious designer Katharine Hamnett. “We ’re done with enigma,” say s Hamnett. “When transparency is the byword for anyone working for sustain- ability, it’s good for us to be less myste- rious. Plus we’re dealing with political issues, so it’s important to put ideas out there, while readers’ feedback makes

you feel like you’re on the right track.” But for the moment,the spotlight is on people power. “Everybody wants a bit of fashion’s glamour,” says Cholette. “Th ey ’re all hoping to be the next Karl Lagerfeld. Even if they’re doing a job that they find stupid,they can still dream about being a fashion superstar by blogging about it.” As a result, the fashion blogosphere is becoming hyper-developed; Cholette sees the most popular fashion blogs

**** Fash ion International Herald Tribune Tu e s d ay , S e p

Web offers ‘m u s t- h ave ’ viewpoints that rattle runways and showrooms

mous shoe blogger (http://shoeb-

logs.com) disputes claims in British Vogue that he earns $700,000 a year, though he does admit: “The Manolo, he is the six-figure blogger.” He also now has a weekly column in the Washing- ton Post Express, a free daily published by the U.S. newspaper. Meanwhile, the self-appointed fash- ion police behind Go Fug Yourself (“a commentary on celebrities with unfor- tunate dress sense,” who claim more than 3 million unique users a month) have recently signed a six-figure book deal,and have been employed by New York Magazine to cover the past three New York fashion weeks. The blog (gofugyourself.type- pad.com) pays well enough — prima r- ily through advertising — for its founders Jessica Morgan,32,and Heather Cocks, 30, to quit their day

jobs. “It started out as a joke,” says Mor- gan. “We never did any marketing; we never had a business plan. We really did n’t anticipate this happening.” Therein lies the attraction of blogs:

“Bloggers are not bound by the same rules of objectivity as professional journa- l ists,” says Derek Gor- don,vice president of marketing for Technor- ati, the blog search en- gine, “so we’re seeing an explosion of candor. Opinion is their lingua franca and audiences are increasingly falling in love with that.” And where the pub- lic goes,advertisers soon follow. “The big retailers are shifting their advertising dol- lars to these blogs,” says Gordon, although no statistics on fashion blog advertising are readily available. In turn, the print me- dia are responding. For example, V Magazine, a New York-based bi- monthly, started its blog last summer. “Ou r readers live online,” says V’s blog editor, Christopher Bartley. “So we needed more of a Web presence. Our blog gives people ac-

cess to V who might never see it in person.”

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as society,” says Cholette. “In India three years ago, the top sites were for jobs,matrimony and porn. Nowadays, it’s much more advanced. There’s some really cool stuff from these countries, specifically adapted to suit their needs so there’s an interesting social perspec- tive. Finally, it’s a spring from another sou rce.”

Fleur Britten is an editor at the Sun- day Times Style Magazine in London.

By Fleur Britten

LO N D O N

  • C ompetition for tickets to Lon- don Fashion Week just got a whole lot tougher. Why? Be- cause there is a brand new

breed of fashionista being courted by designers: the fashion blogger. These citizen journalists are securing the scoops, attracting big-budget advert- isers and amassing millions of readers — a kind of fashion people’s revolution. “Up till now, the fashion industry has virtually been a mafia,” says Chris Cholette, blog-watcher and founder of the shopping portal fashionIQ.com. ‘‘It dictates what’s going to be fashionable. It ’s like, ‘You have to wear blue boots this fall.’ Bloggers offer an alternative voice that says what people are really wearing, as opposed to what the indus- try says they are.” FashionIQ estimates that worldwide there are about 800 fashion blogs of note that are not associated with magazines or corporations. Largely written by “prosu mers,” or professional con- sumers, they discuss subjects like celebrity

fashion,street style and “Oh - my - G o d -y o u - h ave -

to-have-th is”

shoppi ng

tips. And there is a hungry audience: Fashion fol- lowers know that to be current, they have to keep tabs on blogs. “Bloggers can react much faster than tradi- tional media,” expla ins Cholette. “A blogger can review a runway show within an hour, com- plete with video feeds.” In contrast,glossy magazines work as much as three months, or even longer,in ad- va nce. Brita in’s top fashion blog,according to the recent Best Of Brit Blog Awards held by the Lon- don newspaper Metro, is Style Bubble, written by Susanna Lau, 23. A me- dia planner by day, Lau thought she would “g ive blogging a go” a fter avidly reading other fashion blogs. Style Bubble (http://

Reputedly the most profitable independent fashion blog is Ma n o l o ’s Shoe Blog, whose anonymous writer refuses to be identified except by his brown shoes, left; Susanna Lau, above, is Susie Bubble, the London-based blogger whose site recently received a Best Of Brit Blog Award. And, at right, the bloggers at Go Fug Yourself, Jessica Morgan and Heather Cocks, recently signed a six-figure book deal.

eventually becoming subject to the same constraints as mainstream media. “If a fashion blogger is in the front row at Chanel for the first time,it will be hard for them to be objective,” he says. “If they write anything critical, they might not be invited back.” All is not lost in cyberspace,though, because a whole new blog subspecies has been identified: local style blogs in places like Kuwait, India and Algeria. “The Web evolves on the same lines

**** Fash ion International Herald Tribune Tu e s d ay , S e p

The designer Katharine Hamnett has her own blog.

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stylebubble.ty pe- pad.com) is Lau’s “personal journey in fash ion,” and features photos of her wearing clothes she likes. With 10,000 hits a day, it’s no wonder she gets recog- nized while shopping in Topshop. For the second consecutive season, Lau will be representing Style Bubble at London and Paris fashion weeks. Earlier this month, Chanel invited Lau on an all-expenses-paid trip to Paris to promote its latest ad campaign. Other designers have also approached her, of- fering clothes in exchange for men- tions on the blog. She says she has so far declined but, perhaps unsurprisingly, is looking into becoming a full-time fash- ion journalist. Reputedly the most profitable inde- pendent fashion blog is Manolo’s Shoe Blog (nothing to do with Blahnik,al- though the blog reports Blahnik appar- ently finds it “hila rious”). Making most of his money through blog-affiliated fashion sales, the anony-

It also allows V to be freer in voice, says Bartley, who has commissioned guest writers including the supermodel Agyness Deyn, the mu- sician David Byrne and the artist Ryan McGinley. “The blog is much more re- la xed,” he adds. “Nothing is holding us ba c k . ” But Diane Pernet, a freelance journa- list and Paris-based blogger of A Shaded View on Fashion,argues that there is much more freedom in inde- pendence. Having blogged for Vogue.com and Elle.com,Pernet re- calls, “You might only be able to cover 12 designers a season, and you’d have to include the advertisers.” Her own blog (http://www.ashaded- viewonfashion.com) has room for all her favorite creatives. “Journalists tell me they get a lot of information from my blog,” she says. And what about the designers them- selves? While the majority seem slow – or reluctant – to climb aboard the

Black and white contrast is a highlight of Alice Te m p e r l e
Black and
white contrast
is a highlight
of Alice
Te m p e r l e y ’s
exc l u s ive
collection for
Ta rge t .
Photographs courtesy of Target

Temperley hits Target in London

By Jessica Michault

LO N D O N

T he American retail giant Target has set its sights on Britain for its latest lux- ury designer collabora-

tion. After last season’s successful venture with the design duo Proenza Schouler,Target has teamed up with the U.K. designer Alice Temperley for its first mini- foray into the British market. Temperley is bringing the cap- sule collection she created for Tar- ge t ’s limited edition program ‘‘GO’’ here for London Fashion Week. Starting Tuesday and for five days only (or until supplies run out), the desig ner’s easy pieces will be sold at Selfridges’ Oxford Street store. ‘‘Temperley, Target and Selfridges make a unique and enticing combi- nation that will be very attractive to our customers and create a real buzz in the store,’’ said Anne Pitch- er, its buying director. The collection is full of wear- able items that keep things nice and simple. Many use a black and white contrast to create graphic looks that should stand the test of time a bit longer than most gar- ments in the fast fashion world. A monochromatic scoop-neck dress with diamond detail at the collar, floppy bow belt and wide striped hem is sure to be a best-seller as it is very much in keeping with the Temperley aesthetic; a short, black overall-style with chalk-white de- tailing also should do well. The collection debuted Sept. 16 in the United States and on Tar-

ge t . co m .